#ThrowbackThursday

Around this time five years ago, Vikram and I were shipping out our very first cooking kits from our lounge room. Curry Delights, as the we were then called, had just raised the grand sum of five thousand dollars on Kickstarter. We were in business.

We’ve come a long way since and it has been wonderful to have so many of our original backers still a part of the Spicecraft journey.   

The business name and concept changed along the way, but the original vision of helping people create beautiful Indian food remains the heart of our story.

The original idea of Curry Delights was a subscription service where you would receive a different cooking kit every month. Each kit featured a different food region of India. It came with all the cooking ingredients and recipes to cook a three course feast for 6. 

Our subscribers loved the excitement of discovering new flavours and cooking techniques every month, and we had a most wonderful time researching and testing recipes from all across the subcontinent. 

Here’s a video from the half way point of our fundraiser.  

Vikram and I had been playing with the idea of Indian cooking kits for quite a while. It was inspired by all the times our friends spoke of their struggles with authentic Indian cooking. 

It felt strange and exhilarating to finally put the idea to test in public for the very first time.

The Kickstarter turned out to be the perfect way to test the proof of concept. The original subscription boxes evolved into the existing Meal Kit format over multiple iterations. Each time we listened to our customers, figuring our what worked and what didn’t.

Looking back today, it feels like we’ve come a long way. Yet, there remains a long way still to go.

Rose Petal Preserve (gulkand)

Gulkand or Rose Petal preserve is a power packed little treat. Not only is it delicious as a spread, but is also considered a powerful herbal remedy in Ayurvedic Indian medicine. It is often prescribed as a cooling tonic in the summers and as a digestive aid.

It is made by drying a mix of rose petals and sugar in the sun over many days. 

Rose Petal Preserve (Gulkand)

A delicious preserve made with rose petals, sugar and a hint of cardamom. Use on toast, in a milk shake or eat straight off a spoon.

  • 1 cup organic rose petals
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder or crushed cardamom
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Spread our half the rose petals at the bottom of a sterilized glass jar

  2. Sprinkle half the sugar or the rose petals followed by the cardamom

  3. Spread remaining rose petals over the sugar

  4. Sprinkle remaining sugar

  5. Pour water and honey on top and seal the lid tight.

  6. Place the jar in sunlight for 6-8 hours a day

  7. Stir well every other day

  8. Gulkand will be ready to use in about 10 days.

  9. Store in a cool dry place. No refrigeration needed.

 


Pink Champagne with dried Rose Petals

This lush pink champagne with dried rose petals makes for an elegant summer drink. Ready in minutes and bound to impress.

Pink Champagne with Persian Rose Petals

Mesmerising, elegant and super easy to make – Entertaining friends at home? Make this pink champagne cocktail infused with rosebuds and garnished with persian fairy floss pashmak expect some raised eyebrows looking fairy-like and tasting beyond yummy! Kids birthday party? Make special fun drinks for kids using the fairy floss they will love it
Course: Drinks
Author: Parya Zaghand from Saffron and More

Materials

  • 1 cup champagne
  • 2 cups pink lemonade
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • a few slices of lime
  • Rose petals for topping

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients for the cocktail
  • Rim glass with lime slice then dip in sugar or salt.
  • Throw in a a teaspoon of rose petals per glass
  • Pour cocktail into the glass
  • Sprinkle rose petals on top

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

It is believed that the Mughals from Persia first introduced Biryani to India 400 years ago. Since then this dish has evolved into a number of regional versions. The gloriously delicious Hyderabadi style Chicken Biryani is made by layering marinated chicken with spiced parboiled rice, then cooking the whole thing in it’s own juices on low heat.

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe

Spicecraft
Biryani is a much loved Indian dish made by steam-cooking layers of meat/veg and rice in their own juices. It does take time to make which is why it is usually made on special occasions. While there are many ways to make a Biryani, this particular recipe comes from the historic city of Hyderabad in Southern India.
There are three parts to this recipe. First, marinade the meat. Second, par boil the rice. Third, layer the meat and rice and cook in it’s own steam.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 serves

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or 12 cm deep pot with a well fitting lid

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kit Spicecraft Hyderabadi Biryani Spice Kit
  • 1 whole Chicken size 12 cut into 12-14 pieces
  • 400 grams Basmati Rice good quality
  • 1 bunch Fresh Mint leaves
  • 1 bunch Fresh Coriander leaves
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 tbsp Canola or sunflower oil fragrance free
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or Butter
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pinch Saffron thread (optional)
  • 4-5 Green Chillies (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Roughly chop coriander and mint leaves.
  • In a large bowl combine 1 cup yogurt with the spice mixes in Biryani Marinade Spices 1 sachet.
  • Next mix in the spices from Biryani Marinade Spices 2 sachet.
  • Add in half of the chopped mint, half of the chopped coriander and the juice of half a lemon
  • Add 1 tsp of salt and 3 tbsp of oil and mix well. For extra heat, add finely chopped green chillies at this point.
  • Now combine the chicken and the marinade and toss everything together to ensure all pieces are evenly coated
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.
  • Soak 400g Basmati rice in water for an hour.
  • (Optional) A pinch of saffron can add a bit of extra oomph to your Biryani. Steep the saffron threads on 2 tbsp warm milk for an hour.

COOK

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan forced.
  • Add spices from the Rice Spice Mix sachet to a large saucepan.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil and 2 liters of boiling water to the saucepan.
  • Check the water for saltiness. It should be salty like the sea. If not, add more salt. This step is very important to ensure the rice is properly flavoured. The salt will be rinsed away later.
  • Drain the rice that's been soaking underwater. Carefully add it into the boiling water. Stir once, then allow the rice to cook on high heat for 4 mins.
  • After 4 mins, turn off the heat and strain the parboiled rice discarding the water. It is very important to not overcook the rice to avoid a gluggy Biryani.
    You now have fragrant, gently spiced riced all ready for layering.
  • Assemble 3 layers of the Biryani.
    LAYER 1
    Evenly layer pieces of marinated chicken at the bottom of a deep and heavy pot. Unlike other forms of Biryani that first cook the chicken, our Hyderabadi version uses raw chicken for layering.
  • Sprinkle half of the remaining mint and coriander over the chicken.
  • LAYER 2
    Gently spread the parboiled rice over the chicken in an even layer. Do not press down on the rice.
  • (Optional) Sprinkle the saffron milk over the rice if using.
  • LAYER 3
    This final layer is made by spreading fried onions, mint, coriander and ghee over the rice.
    Even sprinkle fried onions from the sachet over the rice.
  • Next spread the remaining mint and coriander
  • Finally drizzle 2 tbsp ghee or melted butter as the final step of this assembly.
  • Cover the pot with aluminium foil and put the lid on. The Biryani is ready to go into the oven.
    Cook the Biryani in the oven for 1 hour at 170 degrees C with the lid tightly secure.
  • Carefully take the pot out of the oven and allow to stand for 15 mins with the lid on. Remove the lid and foil just before serving.

Notes

LAMB BIRYANI:  
This recipe works equally well with Lamb instead of Chicken. Use 1 kg lamb, fat trimmed, cut into 5 cm pieces. Remember to add an extra half cup of water over the rice in Layer 2.
 

Feature in Sunday Telegraph

Spicecraft was featured in the story on global dining while stuck at home in the Escape feature of Sunday Tele today. The article by travel journalist Paul Ewart looks at a variety of dine-in options available at your door Our very first article in a National paper! Did you get a look at it?

DINE LIKE YOU’RE IN OLD DELHI

A melting pot of mouth watering cuisines, exotic smells and mesmerising monuments – the ancient Indian capital of Delhi is a literal feast for the senses. It is also the birthplace of a favourite Indian dish: butter chicken. Lucky Aussies can get an authentic taste of this iconic dish in their own kitchen, thanks to Spicecraft, a home delivery meal kit service.

Created by food-loving Australian Indian couple, who managed to convince the chefs at the original Delhi restaurant that birthed the dish to divulge their recipe. The easy to prepare Butter Chicken meal kits are home delivered, helping even truly clueless cooks to whip up a butter chicken to be proud of.

Paul Ewart

Spicecraft Ingredients

Ever wonder why food made with jars and packets from the supermarket never tastes as good as the real thing? It is all about the quality of ingredients and freshness of spices. You can’t make beautiful Indian food without quality ingredients.

At Spicecraft we carefully source our ingredients from trusted suppliers from around the world depending on where they grow best.

No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives ever.

Consider the spices that go into the marinade. Kashmiri red chilli gives the dish it’s vibrant red colour and a deep smoky heat without being fiery hot. This chilli is grown in the northern parts of India.

Mace and Cardamom found in Butter Chicken Sauce Pack 2 are all about fragrance and flavour. These aromatic spices go in later in the cooking process to preserve their delicate essence.

Then you have the earthy punchiness of Fenugreek leaves

Fenugreek leaves (called Kasuri Methi in Hindi) have a slightly bitter taste. This is essential to create that distinctive balance of flavours that makes Butter Chicken one of the best loved curries in the world.

The salt in the spice mixes is Himalayan rock salt known for its purity and health benefits.

For the Saffron Rice we give you a small pinch of Grade 1 Persian Sargol saffron – the most expensive spice in the world, and aged Premium long grained Basmati Rice grown only in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Sargol Saffron comes from Iran and costs more than pure Gold by weight. This is because this grade consists only of the deep red tips of the stamens of saffron flowers.

Extracting and preserving these strands is a careful and time consuming process. It takes over 100,000 individual saffron flowers to make a single gram of the spice.

Fortunately just a few threads of this potent spice are enough to infuse our rice with that golden glow.

Basmati Rice is the quiet hero of the Spicecraft Butter Chicken Meal kit. Cooked properly it is the perfect vehicle for enjoying your Butter Chicken.

Much like fine wine, premium quality Basmati Rice improves with age. The crop is stored in grain silos for up to 2 years before hitting the market. The aging process gives the grains a creamy yellow colour. This makes for perfectly cooked rice that is aromatic, long grained, light and fluffy.

Each spice in the kit tells a story. They are then blended in exactly the right proportion to take you to Butter Chicken perfection.

How to cook perfect rice

“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.”

Mitch Hedberg.

Cooking perfect rice can sometimes feel like rocket science. It doesn’t have to be so long as you follow the right proportions of water and rice, and use the correct cooking pan.

This simple rice recipe is gently spiced and oh so flavourful. It pairs well with almost any meat or vegetarian curry. Try it with some Spicecraft Butter Chicken or the Cauliflower coconut curry.

You will need

1. Basmati Rice 275g

2. A pinch of good quality saffron (optional)

3. Water

Cooking instructions:

1. Rinse the rice under water until water runs clear.

2. Soak rice in water for at least 15 mins, longer if possible.

3. Mix saffron into 1 cup of warm water, steep for 15 mins longer if possible.

4. Drain all water from the rice, then place the rice into a saucepan that has a tight fitting lid.

5. Top with 1.5 cups water and 1 cup of the saffron liqueur. If not using saffron, just use 2.5 cups of water.

6. Turn to high heat and bring the rice and water to a rolling boil.

7. Now turn the heat down low and cover with a lid. Cook for 8 mins.

8. Turn off the heat, do not remove lid.

9. Allow to steam for 5-10 mins.

10. Remove lid and serve hot.     

Vegan “Butter Chicken”

A delicious version of Butter Chicken made with vegan/vegetarian ingredients. Perfect if you avoid animal products or if you are trying to get some extra veggies in.

‘Paneer Makhani’, as the traditional Indian vegetarian version is known, is almost as popular as actual Butter Chicken in the subcontinent. It is made using Indian cottage cheese called Paneer, available in the dairy section of all Australian supermarkets.

But really you can use tofu, tempeh, soy protein, chickpeas and any number of veggies. Our favourite vegan option uses roasted cauliflower. Absolutely sensational!

Spicecraft kits come with the 13 herbs and spices pre-portioned for this dish. We add in different spices at different stages of cooking to build layers of flavour.

Kits do not contain any animal products at all.

Ingredients
VEGAN
  1. Spicecraft Butter Chicken kit (makes 6 serves) – 1
  2. Tomato paste – 140g
  3. Cauliflower and/or firm tofu – 500g
  4. Light Coconut cream – 300 ml
  5. Sugar – 1 tsp
  6. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
vegetarian
  1. Spicecraft Butter Chicken kit (makes 6 serves) – 1
  2. Tomato paste – 140g
  3. Paneer – 500g
  4. Light thickened cream – 300 ml
  5. Honey – 1 tsp
  6. Yogurt – 1 tbsp
  7. Butter – 1 tbsp
Prep

First up is the marinade.

  1. Combine contents of ‘Chicken Marinade Spices’ sachet from the Spicecraft kit with 1 tbsp of oil or yogurt.
  2. Cut up your protein and veggies into 2-3 cm pieces.
  3. Mix in the marinade paste and ensure everything is evenly coated.
  4. Allow to rest for at least 15 mins or overnight in the fridge.
Cook
  1. Grill the marinated veggies and protein on the BBQ or oven until nicely charred. If using Paneer, grill on BBQ or skip this step altogether as it will release a lot of water if cooked in the oven.
  2. To make the sauce combine the contents of ‘Sauce Pack 1’ sachet from the kit with 140g tomato paste and 1.5 cups of water. Mix well.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter in a saucepan and add in the spiced tomato sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil, then gently simmer for 5 mins.
  5. Now slowly add in 300 ml light coconut cream or light thickened cream. Mix well as the colour of the sauce lightens.
  6. Stir in contents of ‘Sauce Pack 2’ sachet from the kits.
  7. Next add in 1 tbsp sugar or honey, and contents of the ‘Fenugreek leaves’ sachet from the kit. Fenugreek leaves at bitter in character and add a rounded earthiness to the flavour.
  8. Simmer for 10 mins.
  9. Add in the grilled protein – tofu/chickpeas/Paneer – and simmer until sauce thickens to a creamy consistency. Do not add the veggies at this point.
  10. Pile the grilled veggies on a plate and pour the sauce over them and mix well.
  11. Season to taste.
  12. (optional) Garnish with toasted almonds and some chopped up coriander leaves
  13. Serve hot with some rice or Naan bread.

Happy Cooking!